The nest platform is located in Lake Knapp on CBEC property directly in front (NW) of the bird blind. It is a platform on a pole and has been used the past two years. Lake Knapp is a 23 acre freshwater impoundment. This nest is ideal for photography.
Look for 2 adults on the nest. The adult pair will show pair bonding behaviors such as vocalizations, aerial sky dances, and the male feeding the female fish. You may see the pair copulating, which typically begins 14 days before laying eggs.
Females will lay 1 - 4 eggs at a rate of one egg every 1 - 2 days. After laying, incubation starts. Look for adults taking turns sitting low in the nest incubating eggs. The incubation period can last 35 - 43 days.
Chicks hatch ~39 days after incubation begins. Look for adults bringing food to the nest and making "head bows" into the center. Chicks typically can't be seen until they are 2 - 3 weeks old, so feeding behavior is the only way to know chicks are there.
Around 4 weeks after hatching, look for the heads of chicks to show over the rim of the nest, particularly when adults bring food to the nest. Other times they lie flat and are harder to see. Count the number of chicks in the nest before they learn to fly
Chicks begin flying around 7 - 8 weeks old, and are still fed by the adults. Count the number of chicks who have successfully fledged the nest and are observed flying.
Chick Last Observed
4 - 10 weeks after fledging, chicks begin leaving the nest area to migrate south, once they have learned to fly and feed themselves. Record the date that the last chick left the nest.
Look for signs of nest failure like adult abandonment, adults no longer incubating eggs or feeding young.
The birds arrived around March 29th and started building their nest. Although I could not see the eggs from my vantage point, by mid-June the mother would not leave the nest when I approached, and shortly thereafter both parents were at the platform. By July 18th I could see the juvenile, already quite large, and by August 8th the nest was empty.
One bird was perched on the platform as I slowly and quietly approached. Nevertheless, he/she left in a hurry. I waited for several minutes and two birds landed on the platform, perching side by side. A long fresh looking Virginia Creeper vine dangled from the platform.
A man was working at the near end of the pier that extends out to the viewing shelter. He was erecting a sign acknowledging the donations of time, energy and materials to the shelter, built by an Eagle Scout last year. The shelter is to be dedicated on may 15. Not surprisingly, the nest beside the shelter was empty, with fresh green nesting material dangling from the nest. As I was leaving, a smallish crow, perhaps a raven, perched on the nest briefly before flying away. No ospreys were visible in the sky or horizon.
The nest was empty as I approached. After about 15 minutes, one bird approached and landed on the nest. He/she stood upright at the edge of the platform, chirping loudly. This continued for some time, and the bird never settled, so i left the area.
Early in the afternoon on a gray 50 something degree day, a bird, probably the female, was sitting low and flat backed on the nest. She must be brooding, and must have begun brooding since my last visit. I am estimating the date of egg laying and incubation initiation. As I approached the nest via the boardwalk, she sounded the alarm call, but did not leave. No other ospreys were visible. I did see three smallish white herons with black bills wading near the edge of Lake Knapp.
One bird was sitting erect in the center of the nest as I approached at about 1230 p.m. Significantly more nesting material has been added since my last visit. As the bird began calling, another osprey landed on the nest and stood by her side for several seconds before flying away.
At 4:00 pm as I approached the nest, one lone bird was standing in the center of the platform, with very little nesting material visible. After a few minutes the bird began chirping loudly and another osprey flew in and landed squarely on the back of the bird on the nest. After only a second or two the second bird flew away and did not return.
On first visit of 2016 nesting season, I observed one adult probably female on the nest, with no other ospreys in my field of vision. There was a small amount of what appears to be old nesting material on the platform and one long branch dangling off the edge of the platform. Although I approached the nest extremely slowly and quietly, as I neared the bird blind, the bird flew away and did not return before I had to leave.
This is my last visit to the Lake Knapp Nest this season, as I will be traveling for most of September. By the end of September, all or nearly all of the Ospreys, fledglings and adults, will have headed for their winter homes, in Florida, Costa Rica or Venezuela. Some have already left. They do not migrate in flocks, but rather leaving singly, or perhaps in twos or threes. The fledglings, though less than three months old, are fully-grown and take care of themselves. They fly and dive through the air, catching their own fish. They do not come back to the nest very often. Each one has found his/her own place where they like to spend the day and the night. Next spring, this year’s fledglings will remain in their winter homes, returning to the area of their birth the following year. Now, with the nest empy, other birds, crows, herons, even bald eagles will use the nest as a dining room or place to perch. The nest is empty again today. Mid March and the return of our birds will not come too soon!
One Osprey left the nest as I walked on he wooden walkway toward the duck blind below the nest. He/she refused to return to the nest as I patiently waited. Two or three Ospreys were circling across the lake from me, but did not come close. One fish crow did land on the nest, picking through some leftover Osprey breakfast.
No birds were visible as I approached the bird blind below the nest. A volunteer was busily installing metal roofing onto the top of the blind. He reported that two juvenile Ospreys were on the nest when he arrived earlier this morning. They were long gone, though perhaps it was them wheeling and soaring above he far side of Lake Knapp. They are now capable of catching and eating fish on their own, with no help from their parents.
Mom Osprey and one juvenile were on the nest as I approached. The juvenile left immediately with a big fish in his talons. He soon disappeared into a tree, no doubt to finish his breakfast there. Mrs. O. complained about my presence for a few minutes before she also left the nest. She refused to return while I was watching from the bird blind.
One Osprey who was standing on the nest left in a loud hurry as I tried to sneak into the bird blind to observe. He/she was backlit by the morning sun, so i could not see whether she wore adult or juvenile plumage. She flew in great large circles but would not return to the nest, though I was hidden in the bird blind. The shallow shoreline several hundred yards to the southeast was speckled with over 25 white herons, some large and some small, plus one great blue heron in their midst. Could this be a rookery?
Mom and one large chick on nest. Mom left immediately as I approached and the chick yelled loudly. Many sticks were in the water below the nest. Also many brown and white feathers were floating in the water below the nest.
Mrs. O left the nest as I approached the duck blind, calling loudly for he chicks to hide. The chicks have learned that this call means danger. It means that it is time to get down low in the nest and stay perfectly still. Today both chicks kept their heads down, with only an occasional peek at me over the top of the nest wall.
Mrs. O nowhere in sight. One chick's head was observed in the nest.The chicks are growing bigger and bigger every day.They can now stand up and move their tiny little wings at the same time, learning to exercise and strengthen their growing wings.
As we approached the nest via a wooden walkway, into the nearby new bird blind, Mrs. O left the nest and flew in circles, no chicks visible. As we walked away, she alighted on the nest and stood with wings half spread, shading her chicks from the late morning sunshine.
Mrs. O left the nest in a big hurry, loudly sounding her alarm call as I approached the mostly constructed bird blind. She must have taught her chicks well, as they were not visible, and must have been hunkered down flat in the nest cup for safety. She flew in large circles, approaching the nest and calling out, but she would not land on the nest.. Then she displayed her concern and seeming frustration on the next closest threat, a Great Blue Heron standing near the center of shallow Lake Knapp. She repeatedly dove at him. As she neared GB, he (she?) would croak in a very loud, angry sounding voice, wildly flapping his/her wings at Mrs. O. Finally GB gave up and flew away. Mrs. O then flew to a tree and brought a small branch towards the nest. Still she would not land on the nest, and flew away with the branch. Two men who and been working on the roof of the bird blind the previous day, told me that they had interrupted feeding time for the chicks. The chicks were more interesting in watching the men than they were in taking food from their mother. Not an easy job, being a Mother Osprey!
The cold, gray, wet weather means that Mrs. O is hunkered down over her babies, so no chick sightings today. Maybe next week! Meanwhile, the bird blind looks very nearly complete, so we could eyeball the nest through a window opening of the new blind, giving us a closer look at the nest.
Mama is sitting on 2 new chicks, still keeping them warm. One head was observed May 25 and the second on the 26th. Ospreys have many talents. One talent they do not possess is building elegant nests. This nest, like all Osprey nests, is very messy looking, with sticks, twigs and various adornments lying or flapping every which way. Somehow, it works for them!
Mrs. O apparently incubating, in spite of recent construction activity nearly adjacent to her platform/nest. An Eagle Scout project is underway at the end of the pier beside the nest. The Scout and his helpers are constructing a new bird blind, from which it will be possible to observe and photograph many avian visitors to the lake and surrounding bank.
A piece of bright green grassy looking material has been added to the front of the nest since we last visited. We wonder whether Mr. O brought it to the nest? Or was it Mrs. O, during one of her coffee/fish breaks? At any rate, she was sitting in the nest cup, watching us watch her.
We saw Mrs. O sitting quietly, no doubt now incubating two or perhaps even three eggs. It is Mr. O's responsibility to bring fish to the nest for Mrs. O to eat during the incubation period. Sometimes she takes the fish to a nearby tree to eat, while Mr. O takes a turn sitting on the eggs, or at least watching the nest and keeping the eggs safe from predators.
Mrs. O appears to be incubating. Mr. O is nowhere in sight. Our monitoring activity occurs on a weekly basis, which means benchmark dates may of necessity be estimates. We believe that egg laying occurred on or about April 27 with incubation initiated on or about April 29.
On this still very cool, gray and windy morning, Mrs. O was lying in her nest. As with her neighbor near the Kayak Landing, we wondered whether she is incubating, or still forming a smooth and warm nest cup in preparation to laying her eggs. Mrs. O looked somewhat lonely with Mr. O nowhere in sight. Hopefully he is fishing for their breakfast or lunch. Across the lake, high in the fork of a dead tree, it appears that this pair started building a nest, which is nowhere near complete. An industrious Boy Scout has begun work on his Eagle Project. He and his troop are in the process of building a bird blind at the end of a pier very near to this nest. The Osprey pair may have considered building a nest in the dead tree in order to be farther away from the sometimes busy and loud construction site.